Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell top Ryder Cup list
Graeme McDowell may have left Royal Lytham a disappointed man after his Open challenge fizzled out, but consolation is at hand.
G-Mac’s performance in finishing joint fifth has not only assured him of his Ryder Cup place, but he and fellow Ulsterman Rory McIlroy also sit at number one and two in the points list.
Northern Ireland may have lost the grip on at least one of the sport's four Major trophies for the first time since McDowell won the US Open just over two years ago, but the province's influence on the game worldwide remains at an all-time high.
Former world number one McIlroy heads the Ryder Cup points table on 2635952.53 with McDowell on 2197505.29.
And even though Michael Hoey missed the cut at Royal Lytham last week, he still harbours hope of making the team for Medinah in Chicago in September in 17th place in the table.
Tiger Woods has overtaken McIlroy to rise to number two in the world rankings, with the Holywood star remaining in third place despite failing to make much of an impression last week.
McDowell has climbed back up to number 11.
He was frustrated at his inability to make an impression playing with Adam Scott in the final group out on Sunday — but, as he pointed out afterwards, he's not feeling as bad as the Australian who bogeyed all of the last four holes to lose out to Ernie Els.
But McDowell has been out in the final pairing at each of the last two Majors and when it comes to the game's biggest prizes he has demonstrated that he is now a force to be reckoned with, even if he hasn't quite managed to seal the deal.
The Portrush man is up to fourth in the Race to Dubai standings and, having only just missed out on the Harry Vardon standings a couple of years ago, knows he is good enough to finish top European, which would be some consolation for those final round Major performances.